The College Conversation: Out of state doesn't have to mean out of mind

February 26, 2011|By Lisa McLaughlin

It is heartwarming how our 6-year-old thinks she will live with us forever.

And while it is moving to hear her devotion to daddy and how she wants to marry him someday, I know the time will come when her pure adoration of us will turn into something that resembles complete and utter animosity.

I hope it is a fleeting hour or short phase, if we are lucky, but more than likely, she will want to fly far from the coop. When the time comes for college, I imagine she won't want to live at home with her doting parents (as she is an only child). Inevitably, she will want to head east or north out of our Orange County bubble. Honestly, I hope so.


We've had an interesting month in our office, as many of our parents are deeply saddened by the notion that their children want to leave Orange County and go out of state for college. Their thoughts run away from them, and they seem to expect the worst.

They declare their children will never come home again if they travel beyond our state borders. Seriously? Have you ever been back East in the dead of winter? Come March, during their spring break, California sunshine will beckon. And summer, in most parts of the country, is just as dreadful with stifling heat, bugs and humidity.

Some parents fear their relationship will deteriorate as their teens turn into young adults realizing there is more to life than living under the close eye of their parents. It's actually quite the opposite.

More often than not, distance makes the heart grow fonder. The more time you have away from each other, the more moments will be cherished when you are together. It will surprise you how much they text and call. Teenagers who move out of state grow up and mature faster than those who remain under your roof or too close to home.

We also often hear the myth that where your children go to college automatically glues them to that location for future employment. Internships and jobs while in college should develop close connections with local companies.

Yet that does not mean your child has no chance of ever leaving that location in search of a new job in a completely different area. If anything, their network will be widely expanded. They will meet people from all over the country and world. Keep in mind that they already have a network of family and friends here, so an out-of-state college will actually help their job prospects down the line.

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